Ford, VW advance alliance plans on vans, pickups

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen Group on Tuesday said they will collaborate on commercial vans and midsize pickups, and are exploring the joint development of autonomous and electric vehicles as part of a broad partnership designed to save both companies money.

The automakers have been exploring ways to collaborate since at least June. Both sides released details of their talks and planned a conference call with media featuring Ford CEO Jim Hackett and VW CEO Herbert Diess. Both men met briefly Monday at Ford’s stand at the Detroit auto show.

As part of the alliance, Ford will develop medium-sized pickups and large commercial vans for both companies as early as 2022. The midsize pickup will be based off Ford’s global Ranger and the large van will be based off Ford’s Transit Custom, which is not sold in North America, according to Ford spokesman Mike Levine. Volkswagen intends to develop and build a city van for both automakers.

Ford and VW are also open to working on additional vehicle programs.

The companies estimate the cooperation will yield improved annual pretax operating results starting in 2023.

The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding “to investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles.”

“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” Hackett said in a statement. “It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”

Diess in a statement said the two sides will “harness our collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world,” Diess said. “At the same time, the alliance will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness.”

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